Northbound 2 connector to northbound 5 freeway to reopen

Gasoline Tanker Fire I-5

Courtesy Caltrans

File: The inside of the tunnel shows damage to the structure and what's left of the burned out gasoline tanker truck.

A tunnel connecting the northbound 2 to the northbound 5 is set to reopen Friday, Caltrans announced Tuesday. The news comes six months after the connector closed following a tanker fire in July.

"We originally wanted to open it by Christmas, but we were being very ambitious," says Patrick Chandler, a spokesperson for Caltrans. "It's one thing on paper versus actually getting out there and constructing the project."

It is expected that motorists will begin using the Northeast Los Angeles freeway connector Friday at around noon.

Crews have been working night and day to repair damages sustained in the fire that charred about 2.5 inches of concrete. 

"The fire was so hot, it actually caused the concrete to snap, crackle and pop," Chandler said. "You could walk up to it and knock it off with your finger basically."

About $16.5 million was spent on the emergency project that included "modern standard" upgrades to the structure. The costs will be covered by the Federal Highway Administration through its Emergency Relief Program. Upgrades include new LED lights, concrete barrier, fresh white paint and anti-graffiti coating, which makes graffiti removal much easier, Chandler said.

"I'm sure that those who live in the area, and probably some people who go to Dodgers games when the season starts might be happy that ramp is back open again," Chandler said.

There were no reports of any injuries to motorists or the driver of the tanker during the July crash. The tanker had apparently struck a guardrail and caught fire, L.A. Fire spokesman Brian Humphrey told KPCC in July.

General area of the 2, 5 connector where the July tanker crash occurred.


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